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not the best pic - I asked someone to take it for me, not there to do it myselfI've spend covid times in Asia, and getting ready to go home soon.

For the last several months here, I rode an old Cannondale Synapse with a Claris groupset - not amazing, but I really liked the frame, and it's actually the first indexed shifting road bike I ever used extensively.

Back home I have my old Klein Performance (circa 84'), with the original Suntour Superbe groupset, but I busted its front derailleur before leaving. I want to upgrade its groupset to a more modern indexed one, thinking of buying used on ebay before flying back.

I've always bought used bikes, so I'm looking on ebay for nice finds.

The options I'm more interested in are old Dura Ace 7700 9s, and old 8-10s Campagnolo Chorus. or Campagnolo record if I can get a good deal.

But I realize that I'm not sure how much wear and tear should come into consideration...

Assuming the chainrings are in good condition (no shark fins etc), can I expect a 25 year old derailleur to operate smoothly enough to be happy with it? Or will I be better off spending the same money on a new Shimano 105?

Other relevant questions - 1. Should there be any issues fitting these relatively-newer components on my old frame and wheels? (the Klein has old Wheelsmiths, I'm not sure of the model, I'll try to post a pic). 2. is there an easy adjustment I can make to use the Campagnolo groupset, or will I have to buy Campagnolo wheels to fit it? TIA

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    There is a lot to be said for not spending the time and money reworking a 37 year old aluminum bike that pushed the limit on light weight when it was new. May 12 at 22:51
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Twenty-plus year old STIs that really and truly have much life left are rare and expensive.

The 7700 STIs are much more serviceable than most, hypothetically. They allow some make-one-good-one-from-two-bad-ones type stuff to be done where it's not practical otherwise. In practice most of them are trashed by now.

The wear parts on pre-Escape Ergo are all replaceable, hypothetically. In practice the world is getting dry of a lot of that stuff.

You ask about derailleur performance in particular. The age per se isn't what matters, but rather how worn it is. A slopped out RD-7700 is garbage compared to a new RD-R7000. Comparing apples to apples, NOS to new, it's hard to get away from giving a subjective answer there in my opinion, but few reasonable people would find anything to complain about either way. 7700 is longer wearing. More reasonable questions would be what are your gearing needs and do you want something closer to period-correct.

The bike is aluminum, 37 years old, and has a 126mm freewheel hub. It's got light construction for its time in terms of tube choice but it also has monster dropouts. If you want to change the group you're buying a 130 wheel, and then you're going to flex its axle and/or add to the already-considerable chance of frame failure. People do all of those things and it can result in a rideable bike. Whether you want to is up to you. You're buying a Campy wheel if you want Campy and Shimano otherwise. Meanwhile the freewheel hub you've got is one of the nicer ones ever made.

If just getting STI on the Klein is what you really want to do and you're more or less happy with the gear range you've got, you could consider keeping the cranks and wheels, getting new 2x8 STIs, a new 7-speed Shimano 11-28 freewheel, an 8-speed chain, a Claris or Sora 8-speed double front derailleur, and whatever pre-11-speed-road Shimano rear derailleur you want. Running 8-speed STIs as 7 is fine and was once condoned by Shimano themselves.

Finally, there are some Kleins that epitomized the 80s crit-geometry-on-everything trend. If your bike is like this, ie sub-405mm chainstays, then getting the FD rub-free can prove tricky no matter what you do with a more modern group.

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  • Ah, right, it is 7 speed. The truth is that even though I did at first assume it will be a lower-speed freewheel, I then read the "... at least the 9s DuraAce will ..." comment and did not bother counting the sprockets in the photo nor checking the exact specs.
    – Vladimir F
    May 13 at 7:23
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    @VladimirF The freewheel in the pic is 6, but usually 7-speed freewheels can go on 126mm freewheel hubs, potentially with a little respace/redish. May 13 at 8:20
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    There are decent 126 freewheel wheels. What happens when you put a 130 in is not a generic answer because it depends on what the actual (as opposed to nominal) spacing is and what the dropout alignment is like as-is, as well as the hub in question. I mentioned the dropouts because they're of a heft where it's possible the axle takes a fair amount of the bending, which can cause bearing drag. Dropouts ridden in spread form like this are subject to extra fatigue. May 13 at 15:02
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    Good question. Only you can answer that because no matter what choices you make with any of it, only you can say what gearing you need. That is the single biggest piece of the answer to whether you should replace the group and with what. There are other permutations involving bigger freewheels and long cage RDs, for example. May 14 at 20:29
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    @joeav Within 126 that is basically true, but range and speed count are not the same thing. There are many questions here about that. May 14 at 22:51
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A current 105 will almost surely be much better. A lot of improvement happened in those two decades. Even 105 is now 11 speed. Even though the top manufacturing processes with the stringiest tolerances may not be used for 105, it is still manufactured very well and uses good features introduced later. It will allow modern cassettes with larger gear ranges, for example.

Also, even the top DuraAce product can become worn after 25 years of use. Pivots can be loose and wiggling and you would have to have the derailleur in your hands and properly test it. It can be in a very good shape, because they are durable, but it is unlikely to be generally better than a current 105. There are still limitations that keep the cost down - one of the well visible ones is the use of pulley wheels with bushings, instead of ball bearing ones, but 105 receives many features previously introduced in higher-level DuraAce and Ultegra.

Your additional questions: 1. the wheels are unlikely to have a hub that supports modern 11-speed cassettes. You would need a new freehub. 2. I have no idea about Campy.

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    A current 105 will almost surely be much better. IMO 105/R7000 is probably the best bang-for-the-buck current Shimano groupset, but it still doesn't shift as effortlessly nor as well as DuraAce 7800. That under-the-bar-tape cable routing doesn't come without penalty. Good luck finding DA7800 shifters in good condition, though. No - you can't have mine. ;-) May 12 at 22:08
  • @Vladimir_F I'm mostly looking at old 8-10 speed groupsets. Changing the wheels goes in the con column for a newer groupset like the 105 R7000. I hope at least the 9s DuraAce will stay be ok with my old hubs - even though they're next to go when I get a good deal
    – joeav
    May 12 at 23:09
  • @AndrewHenle Sounds like you prefer the 7800 over a newer 105. What about 7700?
    – joeav
    May 12 at 23:11
  • "Even 105 is now 11 speed". That's not an improvement; just part off some irrational marketing race to cram more gears into a cassette, causing compromises elsewhere.
    – Kaz
    May 13 at 14:33
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    @Kaz Well, if you like to ride with the 12-23 gear range then 7 speed is good enough. For 11-34: 11 speeds are good to have.
    – Vladimir F
    May 13 at 15:25
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Focusing solely on Campagnolo compatibility: if you get an 8-10s Campagnolo groupset, it will require a different freehub body than Shimano wheels. In fact, 8s Campagnolo groups may require a different freehub standard than 9s and subsequent groups (although all 9s and later Campy groups except for the current generation Campagnolo Ekar use the same freehub standard, whereas Shimano has at least two standards in play). Unless you are a Campagnolo aficionado, this could be a reason to avoid Campy.

That said, I believe you have a 7s freewheel, which should imply 126mm rear spacing. I think that you do need a new rear wheel anyway if you upgrade to any more modern groupset; all are designed for 130mm spacing at the rear.

Back in the day, some manufacturers may have taken Shimano cassettes and modified them to have Campagnolo spacing. This was not a common thing. I think Wheels Manufacturing was one of the companies that did this. You can't run a 9s or 10s Shimano cassette with a Campagnolo group and get great results. It may shift, but the shifting is likely to degrade over time. The difference in cog-cog spacing and the total cassette height is just too different between the systems. With 11s and higher, the issue goes away, because there just isn't that much room at the rear for the systems to differ in either of the two parameters I mentioned.

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  • In engineering units, if you set up a 9 or 10 speed Campagnolo cassette with Shimano derailleur or vice versa, the worst misaligment is around 0.5mm. But I totally agree, Campagnolo is magic, totally inscrutable and should be avoided at all costs.
    – ojs
    May 13 at 8:26
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Assuming the chainrings are in good condition (no shark fins etc), can I expect a 25 year old derailleur to operate smoothly enough to be happy with it? Or will I be better off spending the same money on a new Shimano 105?

Three reasons to consider:

  • Cassettes and chains are wear parts. Why would you install anything but new? Otherwise you may need to replace the chain in less than 1000km and the cassette has an unknown history so it might be so worn it works with the used chain but no longer works with a new chain.
  • If someone is selling a complete bike, they might have bought a new bike with for example slightly different frame geometry. Not that alarming. Although in some cases the reason for buying a new bike could be that the old components are worn. If someone is selling a lot of used components, the reason might be that one of those components is worn out and the rest need to be sold due to not being compatible with new stuff. That's very alarming.
  • Removing and installing a large number of components on an old bike requires lots of labor. Especially if one of those components is the rear freehub (you probably have a freewheel hub as opposed to freehub in there and freewheel hubs are not compatible with Shimano cassettes) and especially if the frame spacing is anything other than 130mm or 135mm (you might have 126mm spacing on your frame). If the frame is aluminum and has 126mm spacing, forget it! Steel can be cold set. So what I'm saying here is that if installing all the stuff requires lots of labor, it might make sense to install new unworn stuff as opposed to old badly worn stuff. The time it takes to change the rear hub alone is worth 80 euros to me and might require 18 euros of spokes if the old ones aren't the correct length, so would I install a new hub (20-60 euros depending on if it's thru-axle or QR, disc or rim, etc) or a used one (probably half the price)? Of course a new one.

Should there be any issues fitting these relatively-newer components on my old frame and wheels?

Yes.

Modern Shimano cassettes require a freehub for 8-10 speed systems or 11-speed systems (plus spacer) if 8-10 speed cassette, and specifically require a freehub for 11-speed systems if 11-speed cassette. Your rear wheel has probably a freewheel hub.

If you're very lucky the frame spacing is 130mm. You might be able to find a hub that fits there, although changing the hub in an existing wheel requires quite many hours and wheelbuilding expertise. If you're unlucky the frame spacing is 126mm or less. Then you need to cold set your frame. If you're very unlucky the frame spacing is 126mm or less and the frame is made from material other than steel so it can't be cold set.

is there an easy adjustment I can make to use the Campagnolo groupset, or will I have to buy Campagnolo wheels to fit it?

I don't know anything of Campangolo. My understanding is that Shimano is higher quality and lower cost.

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